Japan’s wearable smart-toy startup Moff raises $1.3M to expand to new markets



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Moff, the Japanese startup developing sensor-embedded wearable smart-toy Moff Band, announced today that it has fundraised 160 million yen ($1.3 million) from Japanese gaming giant Bandai Namco Entertainment (TSE:3832), mobile gaming developer Orso, investment company TomyK, and other angel investors. Since its launch in October 2013, the company has fundraised 210 million yen.

Moff began selling the Moff Band device on Amazon.com last fall, attracting many users in Japan and the US. The device adopts the company’s original posture recognition and data analysis technologies, while the company has been planning and developing the active gamification platform that converts actions into user experiences such as emitting a sound based on a user’s action.

Moff will use the funds to strengthen its structure to focus on developing the gamification platform, users’ action- and activity-based analysis technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as business development with partnering companies.

From the left: Moff USA CEO Albert B. Chu, Moff CEO Akinori Takahagi

Coinciding with the funds, Moff established a wholly-owned subsidiary called Moff USA in the US. Albert Chu, former vice president of Apple, AT&T, and Access, was named as CEO of the US subsidiary for business development in the US.

In a previous interview with The Bridge, Moff CEO Akinori Takahagi said that there is huge potential for the smart-toy market in the US. Hence, the establishment of the US-based subsidiary is a natural move for the startup.

Moff said that they will focus on inventing gamified fitness solutions by developing sensor devices and the gamification platform, looking to expand beyond the smart-toy vertical to vaster markets.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson